Fannys Bay Distillery

Northern Tasmania’s seaside gem.

February 17, 2017
By Holly Seidewand

Fannys Bay New Make Spirit.  Holly’s Tasting Note:


Peach, nutty, earthy and pears


Nutty, fruits, caramel, tangerines and a mineral finish on the palate.  Almost like sea rocks or sea stones.

Talk & Taste Session

When you come to Fannys Bay Distillery for a Talk & Taste session, you will hear Mathew share his passion for whisky and his distilling process, and taste 3 – 4 different varieties.

Our Story by Holly Seidewand

Fannys Bay Distillery.  Imagine you fly into Launceston or Hobart, Tasmania.  You rent a car and decide to drive straight north, through Launceston and all the way to the top of the island, (which is actually only 1 hours drive from Launceston), and stop when you reach Bass Strait.

Well now you have arrived at Fannys Bay! This small distillery located in a quiet village where all you can hear are the waves hitting the beach and rocks and the sea breeze air whisking by.  Fannys Bay was started by Mathew and Julie Cooper.  They are originally from Launceston and had always wanted to move to the water.  They are now living and making whisky right in Tam O’Shanter.  Known for its surf, golf, sailing and private beaches.  The name Fannys Bay comes from the small cove next to Tam O’Shanter.  This area of Northern Tasmania is also known for their wine and world class vineyards.  The kind of spirit and friendliness is not common in the world.  I truly believe this kind of passion and positive energy is being passed on through to not only their branding but into their spirit.  Fannys Bay is definitely making a name for themselves in regard to not only their unique brand name, but also for their style of making whisky.

Their process really starts with the water.

They capture the nature rainwater that is rich with salt and magnesium.  This is the water that is used throughout the process and definitely gives them a regional flavour.  It is then mashed into a stainless-steel vat that was re-purposed from the beer industry.  They have three stainless steel fermenters, each at a capacity of about 600 litres, but they only ever fill it with about 300 litres of wort.  They pitch the yeast in after about 20 litres of wort has entered the tank and this helps to agitate and encourage activity of the yeast as the wort continues to flow in.  They run about a seven-day fermentation period.  Mathew continued to stress the importance that “you have to make a good beer to make good whisky”.  Their one copper still will be running both the wash and the spirit runs.  The still was designed and fabricated by Mathew and is 400 litres in capacity.  They only put in about 300 litres of wash for each wash run.

Exact Flavour Profile

Mathew also stresses the importance of the cutting of heads and tails of the spirit runs. He typically likes to cut deeper into the tails.  When a distillery is just starting out, they are looking for an exact flavour profile or testing out multiple cuts and combinations of other factors to get a flavour they like.  Pieces of the process they often alter are grains, malting, water, yeast, fermentation time ect. In a small, boutique distillery, cuts are all based on the owner’s nose and palate.  It is quite a process to get the exact flavour profile you want for your new make spirit.  The best part is that once you do find it, you then get to wait and see if it tastes good after being in oak for at least two years!

Fannys Bay is using a variety of casks.

Everything from French Oak, ex-bourbon to Pinot Noir casks.  Their pinot casks comes from a local, organic vineyard called Sinapius.  I believe good-hearted, passionate people are always the kind of people you want to keep close.  Good energy is contagious, and I believe in their brand and look forward to visiting then again soon.  Holly Seidewand